This year brought the Super Bowl closer to home than most, with the Cincinnati Bengals — a team from less than 100 miles away — competing against the L.A. Rams in California on Feb. 13. Even though the Bengals were unsuccessful this time around, the potential for the team’s first-ever Super Bowl win brought even more hype to the game from the Lexington area than any normal year. As an ISC major, I was more hyped to analyze this year’s Super Bowl commercials than ever before. Here’s my review of my picks for some of the most memorable commercials of Super Bowl LVI:
Paul Rudd/Seth Rogen for Lays
In recent years, half of the internet has been enthralled with Paul Rudd (he was even chosen as People magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive in 2021) and his witty charm and unproblematic character. Paired with fellow comedian Seth Rogen, this commercial had both men recalling their fondest memories together on the day of Rogen’s wedding while sharing a bag of Lays chips. In a series of slapstick clips following Rudd and Rogen through their adventurous past, Lays showcases a variety of its bestselling potato chip flavors by inserting the products into each scenario. It’s a play that’s so obviously an advertisement, but what Lays does well is weave its product into the humor in a way that keeps the audience from caring that they’re so overtly being marketed a product.
Uber Eats Inedible Food
With celebrity appearances by Jennifer Coolidge and Gwyneth Paltrow, Uber Eats creates a montage of actors receiving an order from the company, trying to eat what’s inside, and being subsequently disgusted when they realize they cannot, in fact, eat every item they ordered. In an array ranging from diapers to cat litter to dish soap, Uber Eats cleverly conveys the versatility of its brand as not only a food delivery service — as consumers are led to believe by its name — but as a grocery and personal care delivery service as well. By the end of the ad, you almost feel as if you weren’t marketed a brand but were deterred from it due to the on-screen faces’ dismay. However, there is creativity in the way Uber Eats used its audience’s misconceptions to its advantage to make humor out of confusion and make consumers understand the brand’s basic message easily. This TV spot also included a nod to Paltrow’s self-care brand Goop as a pseudo-ad within an ad as her brand became internet-famous upon the release of controversial candles in a series called “Smells Like…” This quick nod to trend helped cement Uber Eats’ relevancy to current pop culture in viewers’ minds.
Scarlett Johansson/Colin Jost for Amazon Alexa
If you’ve watched TV in the last month, you’ve likely come across a short ad by Amazon featuring celebrity couple Scarlett Johansson and Colin Jost in which their home’s Alexa appears to read Jost’s mind, offending Johansson. It’s a short clip and entertaining at first, but the more repeats I see of this ad, the more diluted its message becomes — that is, until the Super Bowl. The extended cut of this commercial makes it clear that we’re viewing the same message as we’ve seen before from Amazon, but even longer and funnier as Alexa gets the couple into trouble by reading their minds at inappropriate times. This video made the most of its short time slot, cramming several back-and-forth exchanges between Johansson and Jost at a perfect pace.
This commercial is one that takes the simple idea of an intrusive thought we’ve all had (what if this Pringles can gets stuck on my hand forever?) and changes it into a dramatic yet comedic reality. It’s simple because it can be; the premise of the ad is that the Pringles can is stuck with you forever, making the brand’s permeation into our lives clear and its permeation into the forefront of the commercial obvious. This ad doesn’t rely on celebrity endorsement, as a familiar face would only detract from the center-stage presence of the Pringles can on the actor’s hand. The commercial even includes a story of love and family, with Pringles being there the whole way.
Guy Fieri’s “Land of Loud Flavors” for Bud Light Hard Seltzer
A riff on Fieri’s signature Flavortown comments made for years on his cooking and restaurant review shows, "Land of Loud Flavors" is an animated alternate reality that explores what it would be like if the self-proclaimed Mayor of Flavortown found himself as the actual mayor… but of the Land of Loud Flavors. Several citizens of the imaginary land recover a Bud Light Hard Seltzer drink, sharing it with their mayor, Fieri, who then announces to the whole town that the product has the loudest flavor. Fieri, who is a well-established food aficionado, has amassed a cult following of satirical young people praising his signature style and catchphrases. This makes Fieri a comical, yet perceptive choice to represent a brand for its flavor profile.